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SUNY Plattsburgh Celebrates its Class of 2007

PLATTSBURGH, NY __There were plenty of hugs and signs of jubilation after nearly 900 students at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh walked across the dais in the Field House today during two commencement ceremonies.

Student Commencement Speaker Megan Jensen, Class of 2007 Megan Jensen, a graduating food and nutrition major from Plattsburgh, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2007 during both ceremonies. She told her fellow graduates that since they first stepped on campus four years ago, the class has been feeding energy into SUNY Plattsburgh.

"We put our energy into studying for tests, community service, the gospel choir, developing friendships and going to sporting events among the hundreds of activities in this college community," said Jensen during her speech. "For the past four years, I have developed friendships with other students from all over New York State and from distant places like Ghana, Malaysia, Japan, and Trinidad and Tobago. I have bonded with these friends from different backgrounds and cultures as we gradually transformed our minds to become logical problem solvers who can effectively communicate and work with each other. Throughout the journey, the process of learning, which is ultimately a process of change, was constantly occurring."

Jensen, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Omicron Upsilon honor societies, will be continuing her education at the Albany College of Pharmacy.

"Continuous learning -- a practice developed and refined by you here at Plattsburgh State -- is key to adapting to the inevitable and sometimes overwhelming change we confront in this fast-paced world," concluded Jensen. "Serving others, seeking challenges, continuous learning and taking risks are the keys to adapting to change in this complex world."

The first ceremony began at 10 a.m. for students majoring in programs within the Division of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Business and Economics.  The second ceremony commenced at 2 p.m. for students in the Division of Arts and Science.

Several distinguished awards were presented during the ceremonies.

Trent Trahan , a 1970 alumnus of SUNY Plattsburgh, and Dr. Douglas Skopp , distinguished teaching professor of history, were honored with the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented by the College Council to honor persons who have made a lasting contribution to the College, community, state, nation and/or the international human community.

Trahan, president and CEO of Champlain Telephone Company, served as president of the Plattsburgh College Foundation from 2001 to 2006. He was the first SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus to lead the Foundation. As chair of the 2000 Business Partners Campaign, he led that program to new heights. Currently, Trahan serves as the co-chair of the Business Advisory Council, which supports the School of Business and Economics.

Since 1972, Skopp has been teaching history at SUNY Plattsburgh. After thousands of classes and just as many students, Skopp is retiring from teaching effective July 1.

"It has been fun seeing the institution grow," said Skopp, who also serves as the college historian. "The College is much healthier now then at any other time I've been here."

Skopp will continue on a part-time basis in his role as college historian "to help promote what this College stands for and its potential by looking at where it's been over its past."

Kevin and Jo Ann (Murtha) Romano were presented the Distinguished Alumni Award by Douglas McManus, president of the Plattsburgh Alumni Association. Kevin graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1987, while Jo Ann graduated in 1985.

President John Ettling presided over the commencement ceremony as the 10th president of SUNY Plattsburgh. Donald Garrant, College Council chair and a 1957 graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, and Roger Burke, College Council vice chair, presented the diploma covers to the graduates as they walked across the stage.

Dr. Lois Beach, associate professor and chair of adolescence/health education, was the faculty marshal for the first ceremony. Dr. Charles Zinser, professor of geography, was the faculty marshal for the second ceremony. The faculty marshal leads the processional of faculty and students into the ceremony, carrying the traditional College mace.

During both ceremonies, The Adirondack Brass played "Pomp and Circumstance" and the Elgin and District Pipes and Drums played the bagpipes. The Cardinal Singers, under the direction of JoEllen Miano, associate professor of music, sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
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